My sister had finally finished the home assignment which was assigned to her by Dad. The assignment was called ‘Where and why’. Till date, my sister has never put in so much effort and time in studying for any of her college assignment which meant that this ‘Home Assignment’ was one of a kind and very important to her.
Dad had promised her a Family Holiday if she scored well in her Higher Secondary Examination which she did with flying colors. So the ‘Home Assignment’ was to present two Holiday Destination options with reasons supporting as to why should we chose that particular place. We loved both the destinations chosen by my sister. Finally, after a lot of discussions, we decided to go for a ‘Greek Holiday’ – strongly recommended by my sister during her Home Assignment Presentation.
As we were planning for our summer holidays in Greece, we were on a family shopping spree to bring in the holiday mood and our suitcases witnessed volumes of tank tops, cool T-shirts, shorts, footwear, sunglasses, and off course the beachwear.
So here we were all set and ready to discover Greece as well as discover the affection and love which often takes a back seat due to our busy lives spent in chasing our dreams and goals.
Greece, located in Southern Europe is one of the most well-known tourist destinations in the world. Athens where Democracy took birth is the capital of Greece and the largest city. Greek is the official language there though most of the locals also speak English.
We had booked a 2 days and 3 nights package to Greece. From India, the distance to Greece was 7980 kilometers. The thought of travelling this far from our homeland for the first time got me & my sister eager and excited but our parents were left feeling a little more responsible for us but eventually we took the pressure off them by getting them also in the holiday mood.
We arrived in Athens in the evening after our ten hour flight via Istanbul in Turkish Airlines. Our tour representative escorted us to a nice 5 star hotel. It was a beautiful hotel located in the heart of Athens and lays in front of the famous temple of Olympian Zeus and the National Gardens. The rooms were nice and cozy with stylish furniture, soothing paintings and bright wall colors. The rooms had a mesmerizing view to the swimming pool. We had booked two rooms, one for the siblings and one for the couple. We thought our parents definitely deserved some good privacy and quality time with each other.
After relaxing in our rooms for some time, I and my sister headed out for the evening sightseeing tour while our parents chose to take a tour of the mammoth hotel. The open top bus was filled with chatter initiated by other tourists and our tour guide. We had a comfortable drive through central Athens over to the Acropolis hill. The Acropolis hill also called as the sacred rock is one famous monuments of the world. It is the symbol of the city Athens and characterizes the spirit of ancient Athens. The guide instructed us to hold hands and start climbing uphill to the top. We finally reached the top and the view from the Acropolis was amazing and mind blowing. From the top we could view the ancient Agora, the Plaka which is the oldest historical neighborhood of Athens and much more. After appreciating this iconic Athens milestone, we headed to the museum of Ancient Greek musical instrument which is located in Plaka. This museum houses a huge and oldest collection of traditional musical instruments in Europe. We were spellbound seeing the collections which the museum had. The museum was a proof of Greeks vast and vibrant musical history.
Post the tour to museum; it was time for some good dinner. Our parents joined us to the Greek restaurant with other couples. This restaurant is one of the oldest and the most traditional Greek Taverna. Taverna means a small restaurant serving Greek cuisine. We had a lovely dose of entertainment apart from the tasty cuisine. The folk dancers were very talented and were able to engage the crowd. It was an absolute delight to see my parents shaking a leg with one of the dancers on her insistence leaving all inhibitions in their homeland. The best part about Greek food which I think is that it is a delightful combination of dishes which will appeal to all tastes. The night ended with sipping traditional Greek wine and admiring the city of Athens in the shadow of the huge swimming pool beneath. The first day was truly well spent.
On the second day, we had some lovely cheese and spinach pie for breakfast; we lazed around for some time and then headed towards a drive along the coastal road which offers an impressive view of Saronic Gulf. Saronic Gulf, also called Gulf of Aegina forms part of the Aegean Sea. After spending some time there, we were excited for a session which we were keen on experiencing since all of us were going to experience it for the first time. So very eagerly, we headed towards our wine tasting tour at the stunning countryside of ancient Nemea in Peloponnese. Nemea is one of the largest wine making regions of Greece and is known to produce the best red wine in the country. We had a good tour of the vineyard and the winery and some wine tasting. Post this, our journey continued to the port of Nafplio, one of the most scenic towns in Greece. This town witnesses a lot of cafes, restaurants, old heritage buildings and a nice beach where you can cool your heels for some time. While our parents chose to do some local shopping, I and my sister wanted to explore the view of the city; hence we decided to climb the 899 steps up to the Palamidi Fortress and what a view it was! – Enthralling and captivating. The hard work of climbing those steps was worth it!
Evening was spent driving back to Athens. For dinner we treated ourselves to some nice Greek ravioli skillet and caramel pear pudding.
The 3rd day was devoted to Island Hopping. After breakfast, we progressed towards the Piraeus Port for a full day cruise of 3 islands – Aegina, Poros, and Hydra. We sailed towards Poros island first.Porus is a green island with an area of 33 sq km and lies in the Saronic Gulf.Porus was the island of Poseidon – God of the sea and the temple of Poseidon is in the middle of the island. The popularity of Poros as a famous tourist destination was evident from the large tourist crowds from different parts of the world. Since we had two more islands to be visited, we relaxed here for some time and then sailed towards another beautiful island Hydra. This island seemed to have a cosmopolitan and multi-cultural atmosphere with a balance of architecture and nature. An amusing but the best part about this island is that vehicles are not allowed here and donkeys and your feet are the only means of transportation thus making this island a place of peace and tranquil. We did a beach hopping trip around the island from west to east . Spilia, a beautiful rocky beach with crystal clear waters, then Vlichos, a small pebble beach and Palamida – another scenic beach with clear waters. Post beach hopping and a few rejuvenating swims, we headed towards the largest of the three islands – Aegina. The island has a special place in Greek mythology and history. We visited the temple of Aphaia which is located on the eastern side of the island up on a 160 meters high peak. History indicates that this temple was used for worshiping a fertility and agricultural goddess. The most astounding and remarkable fact is that the temple is situated at an equivalent distance from the Acropolis in Athens and the Temple of Poseidon in Poros. These three historic and magnificent temples form a triangle between North, East, and South.
I realized that apart from the fun in exploring the beauty of the three islands, even the mid-way journey to these islands was enjoyable because we were sailing.
We returned back to our hotel after an eventful day. We had a lovely dinner at the hotel and cherished this memorable day by rewinding our cameras and memories together at night.
The fourth day witnessed our departure. We realized that we had a lot more places to cover since Greece is a country with abundance of history and beauty and truly worth visiting.
Our cameras were exhausted of batteries but we weren’t tired of clicking. All we wanted is to capture those moments in our eyes and lives forever.